top of page


An abbreviated guide to typical development

Pediatric Developmental Milestones

The following tables are offered to help parents identify where their child is functioning along the continuum of typical development. Because occupational and physical therapists focus on the whole child, developmental markers are provided for the categories of gross motor, fine/visual motor, self-help, and play. If your child does not appear to be achieving the milestones for his/her age, feel free to reach out to us to discuss whether an evaluation would be appropriate.

Initiating an Evaluation

To initiate the evaluation process please contact us or call (202) 244-8089 and a therapist will discuss your child's specific needs.

By Age 2

Play Skills

  • Copies others, especially adults and older children

  • Parallel play (plays mainly beside other children but is beginning to include other children)

  • Points to things or pictures when they are named

  • Follows simple instructions (up to 2 steps)

Fine Motor/Visual Motor Skills

  • Might use one hand more than the other

  • Builds towers of 4 or more blocks

  • Imitates a vertical line

  • Threads large bead on shoelace

  • Complete simple shape puzzle

Gross Motor Skills

  • Stands on tiptoe

  • Kicks a ball forward with either foot

  • Climbs onto and down from furniture without help

  • Walks up and down stairs holding on

  • Throws ball overhand

  • Jumps with both feet leaving floor at the same time

Self-Help Skills

  • Drinks from glass or cup without much spilling

  • Gets spoon in mouth right side up without much spilling

  • Takes off pants, socks, and shoes

  • Assists with dressing

  • Drinks with straw

By Age 3

Can perform the skills in the previous age group in addition to the following...

Play Skills

  • Identifies body parts

  • Can sort shapes and colors

  • Plays simple make-believe games

  • Copies others

Fine Motor/Visual Motor Skills

  • Draws a single circle

  • Screws/unscrews jar lid

  • Holds an object with one hand while using the other

  • Snips with scissors

  • Grasps pencil with thumb and fingers instead of fist

  • Builds 9-block tower

Gross Motor Skills

  • Runs easily

  • Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike)

  • Walks up stairs, one foot on each step

  • Catches a playground ball

  • Jumps forward with both feet together

Self-Help Skills

  • Uses spoon and fork to self-feed

  • Dresses and undresses with assistance for fasteners

  • Unzips coat

  • Washes hands with minimal assistance

By Age 4

Can perform the skills in the previous age group in addition to the following...

Play Skills

  • Engages in cooperative play with other children

Fine Motor/Visual Motor Skills

  • Consistent hand preference

  • Draws a person with 4-5 different body parts

  • Draws a tower with more than 9 blocks

  • Traces a line

  • Cuts paper in half

Gross Motor Skills

  • Walks on a line

  • Balances on 1 foot for 5-10 seconds

  • Hops on 1 foot

  • Alternates feet walking down the stairs

  • Gallops

  • Catches a bounced playground ball

Self-Help Skills

  • Dresses and undresses without much help

  • Buttons and unbuttons large buttons

  • Puts on shoes independently

By Age 5

Can perform the skills in the previous age group in addition to the following...

Play Skills

  • No new skills

Fine Motor/Visual Motor Skills

  • Cuts out simple shapes

  • Copies a cross and square

  • Colors with regard to boundaries

  • Uses a mature grasp

  • Attempts to form letters

Gross Motor Skills

  • Skips

  • Uses climbing equipment on the playground

  • Somersaults

  • Bounces and catches a small ball

  • Plays hopscotch

  • Hangs from the monkey bars

  • Pumps a swing

Self-Help Skills

  • Can snap/unsnap

  • Buttons and unbuttons small buttons

  • Brushes teeth independently

bottom of page